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The Victoria & Albert Museum
Made between 1950 and 1955, this evening gown is the work of Parisian designer Pierre Balmain (1914-82). Chances are, it was made as a debutante's presentation dress. Adorned with ostrich feathers, sequins and rhinestones, the gown must have made a grand impression as its wearer made her debut. Constructed of white organza, the gown is beautifully embroidered—a difficult task on such a fine, light fabric. The exquisite embroidery work required immense skill, and was, therefore, sent to a special workshop in Lesage which Balmain had commissioned to create the detailed work. Each bead, each feather and sequin and each rhinestone was applied one-by-one by hand.